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Cannabis Abuse, Ambulatory Care

Cannabis (marijuana) abuse

is a pattern of use that causes physical or mental problems. Cannabis can make you feel high, happy, or excited. The effects may start right away and last for 3 to 4 hours depending on whether you smoke or eat cannabis.

Common symptoms include the following:

  • Use prevents you from functioning at work or school, or causes you to be absent often or to do poor work
  • Use when it is dangerous to be under the effects of the drug, such as when you are driving a vehicle or using machinery
  • Problems with the police when you are under the effects of cannabis
  • Continuing to use cannabis even when you argue with your family and friends about your use
  • More cannabis is needed to give you the high feeling or other effects that you want
  • Withdrawal symptoms after you stop using cannabis

Cannabis withdrawal

happens when you have used cannabis for a long period of time, and you suddenly take less or stop taking it. Withdrawal symptoms may start on the first day and may last up to 2 weeks.

  • Decreased appetite and weight loss
  • Night sweats and trouble sleeping
  • Craving for cannabis
  • Feeling irritable, agitated, anxious, or restless
  • Depressed or negative mood

Seek immediate care for the following symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath, a fast heart rate, or chest pain after the effects of cannabis have worn off
  • Thoughts of hurting or killing yourself or others

Treatment for cannabis abuse

may include any of the following:

  • Brief intervention therapy is done by meeting with a healthcare provider who will talk to and encourage you. During therapy, you will discuss your cannabis use. The healthcare provider will help you understand that you are responsible for making changes in your life. He will explain how you can be helped by decreasing or stopping cannabis use, and give you treatment options.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps you change your thinking and behavior. It can help you manage depression and anxiety caused by cannabis use. CBT can help you learn good coping skills and ways to manage stress. CBT can be done with you and a talk therapist or in a group.
  • Motivational enhancement therapy is used to help motivate you and help set goals to change your behavior and stop cannabis abuse.
  • Group, marriage, and family therapy is group therapy. You meet with others who also want to stop using cannabis. Marriage and family therapy can help you by including others to support you in your treatment.
  • Vouchers are rewards for attending therapy or not using cannabis. You may need to provide urine samples for testing. If your urine shows no signs of cannabis use, you may get a voucher. This program may report you to the court, or tell your family or friends if you decide to use cannabis.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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